Even though the temperatures were soaring and the sun was testing our limits, it made for a lovely summer weekend. To top it off, it was a long weekend with Labour Day falling on Monday. And, cherries on top was watching Abhilash Tomy cross the finish line. How did he do it? Yes, the usual mix of perseverance, dedication and focus make up the cocktail for success. But the most important ingredient here is passion, which allows us to live life.
Passion is often used to describe amorous feelings and elicits a sly smile from the listener or reader. But passion is much more than that. It’s a strong and compelling emotion. It is a higher degree of dedication and devotion towards something. The intensity of such feelings is felt only when someone is totally taken by the object of such attention. And this is true for all those who excel in their field, be it academics or sports or art. It’s their passion which has enabled them to scale such enviable heights.
NO can do!
Golden Globe Race, or GGR, is ‘very simple’ – all the participants have to do is depart from Les Sables-d’Olonne, France and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five great capes and return to Les Sables-d’Olonne. And one more thing – they must sail without modern technology and the benefits of satellite-based navigation aids. Wow! Totally back to the basics, right? I’m sure this is how our earliest seafaring ancestors crossed the seas to discover new lands. So yes, to be able to participate in something like this needs a different kind of passion.
Sailing looks romantic; sailing into the sunset with the dark blue waters reflecting the myriad shades of pink and orange as the huge orange disc slides out of sight. But believe me, it’s anything but that. I did my share of sailing on the enterprise-class boat (that’s a small two-man sailing dinghy, for the uninformed) during my days in uniform. Had a wonderful mentor who taught me the ropes (no pun there!). But that’s like splashing in the bathtub, kids play compared to what these guys have done. A new history has been scripted by Kirsten Neuschafer and Abhilash Tomy who won the GGR 2022 after nearly 235 days at sea.
What makes Abhilash’s win even more noteworthy is the number of setbacks he faced right from the beginning. Not to forget his earlier attempt in 2018 when he had to withdraw after an accident which had left him with a broken back. Where mere mortals would have folded shop and gone through life whining about the setback, Abhilash made a spectacular comeback and with a win too. Bravo Zulu! Watching his progress, we would end up with the same question time and again – how did he do it? Haven’t found an answer yet. But have discovered a newfound respect for those who have the guts to follow their heart.
Heart leads the way
Another set of sailors who have got my full support and admiration is the crew of the Reeva project. A total leap of faith. They sold all their belongings to invest in a small boat and the family of three is living a life at sea, something that they dreamed of. Needs lots of guts to be doing such a thing. If sailing solo is daunting, then imagine living on a boat with your family. That’s something else. Every little comfort that we take for granted, they’ve to make it work onboard their new abode.
They had some setbacks like the propellor not working or the engine not starting. But they’ve worked around it. Both the wife and daughter have become quite proficient in handling the boat and the life onboard. Way to go, ladies! The wife has also shared some interesting cooking hacks and recipes worth trying even in our kitchens. The videos are short, the energy high, the attitude killer and the camaraderie enviable. If you haven’t had a chance to watch them rock it, you’re missing something.
Living life to the fullest with passion
We all have dreams but how many of us are ready to chase them? This ‘want’ to do something has to change to action for anything to happen. It’s not just about switching the verbs but a whole lot of attitude. Living life is about experiences, and experiences will happen only when we decide to take that first step away from the normal. This one step is the most difficult and yet somehow will lead us to the most fulfilling journey.
One doesn’t have to sail solo or sell off their life’s possessions to do something different. All it needs is for one to feel the need to do something for one’s own satisfaction. Something which fulfils the deep vacant space hidden behind the veneer of complacency. Passion is what keeps the fire inside burning bright and inspires us to take up challenges. So, are you up to trying to do something different?
Passion is something that causes you to live life, not exist. And this passion is not restricted to just sports or adventure activities. Look at our environmentalists, wildlife conservationists, photographers, artists, social workers and many such people; they thrive on passion, a deep commitment to their trade. Make plans and work towards making them happen. It will not happen overnight but the will to make it happen should be the life force which will keep us going.
Maybe someday, I’ll feel inspired enough to take that step. What about you? What is that one thing you would love to do if you ever got around to doing it? Would love to hear about it.
Stop dreaming. Start living.
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